The Number 4
On the fourth day of creation, God set the heavens in their proper relationship with the earth by creating the moon, stars, sun, and the entire solar system. Thus, the number 4 represents the universal nature of God’s creation and symbolizes universality.
The number 4, as used in scripture, consistently illustrates the principle of universality. Its meaning is derived from the four compass directions which indicate the north, south, east, and west.
In Ezekiel 7:2, the Lord declares: "... An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the earth." Science has proven that the earth doesn’t have four corners of course, but what God is doing is using the number 4 prophetically to reveal the universality of end-time events on the earth.
We also see the principle of universality in the four lunar phases, the four seasons, and the four-fold biblical division of mankind into lands, tongues, families, and nations. (Revelation 13:7).
The Universal Extension Of The Gospel
This principle of universality is revealed in Peter‘s dramatic vision from God:
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. (Acts 10:9-16)
This vision was more than a dialogue concerning clean and unclean foods. It revealed that the gospel would be extended to the Gentiles - all nations - as well as to the Jews.
Universal salvation would be offered to every tribe, tongue, and nation.
In the parable of the sower in Matthew chapter 13, the universal response to the Word of God is described. All men, everywhere, will respond in one of four ways to the gospel:
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:18-23)
The universal reaction to the Gospel will be one of four responses:
-They will receive the Word by the wayside. This is illustrated by those who hear the Word but do not understand it. The wicked one comes and steals the Word.
-They will receive the Word in stony places. A person hears and receives the word with joy, but it does not take root in their life. When tribulation and persecution arises, he is offended.
-They will receive the Word among thorns. The cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the Word in the life of the listener.
-They will receive the Word in good ground. The Word is received, understood, and brings forth abundant spiritual fruit.
The Universal Resurrection
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it provided a prophetic preview of the end-times when all true believers will experience the resurrection. Lazarus was in the grave four days. Why not two days? Why not six days? Because four illustrates the universality of the future resurrection.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
Whosoever--anyone and everyone--that believes in Jesus and accepts Him as Savior will receive the eternal life that is guaranteed by His resurrection.
The Universal Judgment
In Revelation 7:1, we see "... four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree." There are four angels, four corners, and four winds. In this vision, universal judgment is held back by the angels of God.
Revelation 20:8 speaks of the Antichrist spirit that "... shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them together to battle". The reference to the "four quarters of the earth" means that all nations will be deceived and will gather together for the final battle between the armies of Satan and his Antichrist and the armies of God, led by Christ.
This prophetic symbolism of the number 4 remains consistent throughout scripture. We see it in the four carpenters, the four horns of the altar, the four beasts with faces, the four wheels, the four spirits of heaven, and the four cherubim, etc. Prophetically, in each of these examples, the number 4 always illustrates the universality of whatever is being discussed.
In Matthew 24:31, the Lord reveals: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another." All of the elect (the universally chosen) will be gathered together from all parts of the earth. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). No one is predestinated to be lost (Ephesians 1:5). We are predestined by God to be saved, but the elect will be composed only of those who have availed themselves of the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
What great significance is found in every number used in God’s Word!
Next, we will learn the meaning of the number 5.
On the fifth day of creation, God created the animal kingdom and blessed them. By blessing them, He was promising that He would care for them. His blessing and care for His creatures are manifestations of His grace. Thus, the number 5 was initially established to mean the work of grace, God’s unmerited blessing.
Symbols Of Grace
The number 5 is used repeatedly in the Old Testament to represent God's grace.
-There were five kinds of animals that were to be sacrificed under the Old Testament covenant: Goats, sheep, cattle, pigeons, and doves (Genesis 15:9; Exodus 29:38; Leviticus 1:1-17; 3:1,6-7,12; 4:3-4,23,32; 5:6-7). These sacrifices all reflect the grace of God in the forgiveness of our sins and/or in our worship. We cannot be forgiven or worship God without His manifested grace.
-The holy anointing oil had five components including myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and olive oil. Your spiritual anointing for ministry is enabled by the grace of God that is manifested in your life.
-Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream by God in which he saw a giant statue of a man. According to the interpretation given to Daniel, this statue represented five periods of world-ruling empires.
-The statue's head of gold represented Babylon (Daniel 2:32, 38).
-The chest and arms of silver symbolized the Persian Empire (Daniel 2:32, 39).
-The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Macedonian Empire under Alexander the Great.
-The two legs of iron symbolized the Roman Empire (Daniel 2:33, 40-43).
-The ten toes of iron mixed with clay symbolize later-day kingdoms yet to come (Daniel 2:41-44).
This statue represents five distinct eras of kingdoms of this world and provides a basic structure for understanding biblical prophecies and end-time events. Throughout each of these five eras of human government, God's unmerited grace is extended to mankind.
The word grace in Greek means "the unearned and unmerited favor of God." Strong’s Greek Dictionary defines it as “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.” Grace is brought into your life by the revelation of Christ:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 1:13)
You are saved by God’s grace:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Grace is more than God’s unmerited favor extended for salvation. Grace is active in the everyday life of a believer. The Zondervan Encyclopedia of Bible Words states that "grace is a dynamic force that does more than affect our standing with God by crediting us with righteousness. Grace affects our experience as well. Grace is marked always by God’s enabling work within us to overcome our helplessness.”
Believers serve God by grace:
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
God is the source of grace. James declared:
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6)
Not only can grace be added to you, it can be multiplied as your knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus increases:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2)
God wants you to experience His gift of abundant grace:
John 1:16: And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Receive this tremendous revelation from God right now. Unmerited and unlimited, God's grace is available to you today. Whatever your need, whatever your pain, whatever your heartache, His unlimited grace is sufficient:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The Number 6
On the sixth day, God created man, so the number 6 was established as symbolic of man and all that relates to him. The number 6 is the sum of 2x3. Three speaks of God, but the number 2 speaks of division. So the number 6 denotes man’s division from His Creator and symbolizes man without God.
Man Without God
It is interesting to note that six types of pleasant foods were desired by the Israelites during their wilderness trek: Fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (Numbers 11:5). Six is man’s number and denotes a failure to be satisfied. Israel was lusting after these things because of their sensual desires, not realizing that their true need was for God. Man always experiences lack without a true relationship with God.
Contrast the list of foods in Numbers 11:5 with those in Canaan which include wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, and honey (Deuteronomy 8:8). There are seven items listed, and they are stamped with the symbol of God’s perfection and completeness. (More about this in the study of the number 7).
Man's Labor And God's Rest
Six represents a period of labor. Six days was the length of time in which God created the world and then He rested. Israel was commanded to sow their fields for six years and then allow them to remain fallow during the seventh year (Exodus 23:10). They were instructed to work six days and keep the seventh as a Sabbath. We are also instructed to work for six days and rest on the seventh day (Exodus 20:9-11). Man's labor (6) precedes God's rest (7).
We experience God's rest now through salvation by Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of our time on earth, our eternal Sabbath of rest will come:
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:1-11)
Today is the day of salvation. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, invite Him to come into your heart and life right now.
You can be assured of His promises and His sacrificial work of salvation for your sins, right now, today!
Then someday, in the future, you will find eternal rest in the marvelous eternity that He has prepared for His children.
The Number 7
Seven indicates perfection and completion. It is one of the most frequently used numbers in the Bible. It is used approximately 735 times, including its derivatives (i.e., seventh, seventy times seven, etc.). The number is used extensively in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
Completion And Perfection
-Seven is considered to be God's seal of completion. He stamped His approval on creation by resting on the seventh day and declaring it good. Creation was complete.
-God blessed and sanctified the seventh day and set it apart as the Sabbath, which is to be kept holy unto Him: "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3).
-The tabernacle was completed and dedicated on the seventh day after the start of its construction (Exodus 40:17). It took Solomon seven years to build the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:37-38). Both of these projects speak of completion and perfection.
-There were seven pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, including the bronze altar and laver, the golden menorah, the table of the bread, the golden altar of incense, the ark of the covenant, and the atonement seat. These seven pieces of furniture symbolized God's plan for the complete spiritual restoration of sinful mankind.
Seven represents complete spiritual victory secured by Jesus Christ.
-Seven is a representation of our total consecration. Before Aaron and his sons began ministering as priests, they were consecrated for seven days (Leviticus 8:31-36).
-Seven is a picture of our total redemption through Christ. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the mercy seat seven times (Leviticus 16:14).
-Seven represents total victory. When the children of Israel approached Jericho, God told them to march around the city for seven days. On the seventh day, when they marched around seven times, the work was completed. They shouted, the walls fell, and God gave them the city (Joshua 6:1-16).
-Seven represents total deliverance. There were seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Egypt. God revealed to Joseph what was coming in the future and gave him a strategy to prepare for it in order to save the world from starvation (Genesis 41:20-31).
-Seven represents multiplication. The seventh year was considered to be the Sabbath year--a year of rest in which Israel was directed by God not to sow or reap. God promised such an abundant blessing upon them during the sixth year that it would bring forth a harvest that was sufficient for three years!
-Seven represents freedom and debt-cancellation. God directed Israel to count seven Sabbath years--seven times seven which equals forty-nine years. The fiftieth year was the year of Jubilee. On the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement, the trumpet sounded, heralding the day of Jubilee. It was a time of freedom and debt-cancellation. Slaves were set free, the land was returned to its original owners, and debts were forgiven. They did not sow or reap that year, but ate of the increase from the previous year (Leviticus 25:11-12). (More on this in the study of the number 50).
-Seven represents total divine sufficiency. Jesus multiplied seven loaves and a few small fish to feed a multitude of four thousand men, besides women and children. After everyone had eaten, there were seven full baskets remaining! "And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full" (Matthew 15:37). Not only was there enough to meet the immediate need, but there was total divine sufficiency.
-Seven represents the inclusiveness of God's healing power. Jesus performed seven miracles on the Jewish Sabbath which was from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. These miracles confirmed the sacredness of the day as well as targeted the unfounded beliefs of religious leaders who did not think such acts should be done on the Sabbath.
-Jesus healed the withered hand of a man attending synagogue services (Matthew 12:9).
-At a Capernaum synagogue, Jesus cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21).
-Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law of a fever (Mark 1:29).
-A woman attending synagogue, who had suffered for eighteen years, was released from her bondage (Luke 13:11).
-Jesus healed a man with dropsy (Luke 14:2).
-A crippled man was healed at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:8-9).
-Jesus healed a blind man at the pool of Siloam (John 9:14).
Every type of malady is addressed in these examples--from a simple fever to demonic spirits and permanent conditions.
His healing power is the perfect remedy for every physical, mental, and spiritual need you may experience.
Leviticus 4:6 uses the number 7 in relation to total forgiveness. This directive said that "... the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the veil of the sanctuary." The blood was to be sprinkled seven times, indicating that the person was totally forgiven by God and completely clean.
The number 7 also provides insight as to how we are to forgive others. When Peter asked how many times he should forgive someone, Jesus answered: "... seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:22). Jesus did not mean that the actual number of times we should forgive someone is 70x7, or a total of 490 times. What He meant is that we should forgive completely and freely as many times is necessary.
We are to forgive, as we have been forgiven - totally and without reservation:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Seven Prophetic Feasts
The book of Leviticus records details of seven feasts that were instituted by God. These feasts were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar and they symbolized God's complete prophetic plan as revealed and fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
-The Passover symbolized Israel's protection by the blood of the slain lamb and their deliverance from Egypt which is symbolic of sin (Leviticus 23:5). Jesus is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
-The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a time when Israel cleansed their homes from leaven and presented their offerings to the Lord for seven days (Leviticus 23:8). This feast symbolizes the Messiah's sinless life, as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible.
-The Feast of First Fruits prophetically indicated the resurrection of the Messiah as the first fruits of the resurrection of all the righteous (Leviticus 23:10-11). Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to Him as the "first fruits from the dead" (1 Corinthians 15:20).
-The Feast of Pentecost was determined by counting seven Sabbath days or forty-nine days from the day they made their wave offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:15). This feast pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit that would be given to both Jewish and Gentile believers during the church age (Acts 2).
-The Feast of Trumpets was on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24).
This feast points to the rapture of the church when the Messiah (Jesus) will appear in the heavens as He comes for the church. The rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:52).
-The Feast of Tabernacles started on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and the children of Israel presented their offerings to God for seven days (Leviticus 23:24). This feast symbolizes the Lord's promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).
-The Day of Atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:27). This feast points to the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth and the Jewish remnant will "look upon Him whom they have pierced," repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:1-6,25-36).
Seven is a number of prophetic fulfillment. The book of Revelation--which unfolds God’s end-time plan for the culmination of the ages--is filled with "sevens". These include the seven churches; seven Spirits of God; seven golden candlesticks; seven stars; seven lamps; seven seals; seven eyes; seven horns; seven angels; seven trumpet judgments; seven crowns; seven vials, containing the seven plagues that fill up the wrath of God; seven thunders; seven mountains; and seven kings. In each case, the number 7 indicates completion of God's purposes.
In the vision recorded in Revelation chapters 1-3. Jesus stands in the midst of seven candlesticks, symbolic of Christ standing in the midst of the seven churches of Asia. The seven stars are God’s messengers to these churches. The seven churches were actual churches at the time of the writing of Revelation, but they can also be viewed in terms of the periods of church history. When God addresses these churches in Revelation chapters 1-3, He is not just speaking to them. His message is for all believers and all churches of all time, communicating blessings to the faithful and warnings to the unfaithful.
Another example is illustrated by the seven heads of the dragon in Revelation chapter 12: "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads" (Revelation 12:3). The seven heads are seven mountains, which symbolize kingdoms (Revelation 17:9). The seven heads and crowns indicate the totality of their authority. This is not indicating that Satan's plan is perfect, but rather the complete authority with which evil will rule in the end-times. The seventh king will eventually fall, however, and God will extinguish Satan’s reign of terror.
The entire book of Revelation is filled with symbolism pertaining to the number 7. The seven seals on the book that is opened by the Lamb indicate that it is completely secured. The sounding of the seventh trumpet indicates God's judgments are completed. The seventh vial indicates the totality of the wrath of God that has been poured out upon the earth. When the seven thunders have finished sounding, God’s plan and purposes will be complete.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit of God is symbolized by seven horns, seven spirits, and seven eyes (Revelation 3:1 and 5:6).
-The seven horns represent His omnipotence, the totality of His power.
-The seven spirits represent His omnipresence, the totality of His Presence. He is everywhere at the same time.
-The seven eyes represent His omniscience. He is all-seeing and all-knowing.
These prophetic symbols indicate that God’s rule is complete. He is over all and sees all. God is in control!